In today’s world where a majority of FPS titles are often fast-paced experiences that rely more on players using special ‘power-ups’ rather than actual strategy to win against an opposing team, titles such as Tripwire Interactive’s recently released Rising Storm favors players who are looking for something a little different in the FPS genre.
Those wanting more realism will be right at home with the gameplay mechanics of Rising Storm, but it is definitely a title for a more acquired taste as well. Having been a fan of Tripwire Interactive’s previous title Red Orchestra 2, another FPS title that relied heavily on bringing about a genuine ‘warfare’ experience where massive levels, 64 player-filled matches, and one-shot deaths were the main formula of the game, Rising Storm was hailed by Tripwire as another title where strategy and realism combine beautifully to create a unique FPS experience – and boy does Rising Storm follow through on this approach exceptionally well.
Rising Storm is a title that truly falls in line in the tradition of Red Orchestra 2 in that it emphasizes the reality of warfare where strategy and patience are essential survival tactics in keeping alive. As in real warfare though, death is often unexpected and quick at times, a notion that Rising Storm plays up to a significant degree and is an element of gameplay that players new to the franchise will either appreciate or utterly hate. Getting shot constantly by an enemy sniper from afar may not be exactly ‘fun’ for many players accustomed to the dynamics of, let’s say a Call of Duty title. The overall pacing of Rising Storm is often slow and methodical, and when the action does pick up, players are forced to react quickly in order to save themselves and their teammates.
As such, Rising Storm also relies very heavily on the aspect of teamwork in order to succeed. Sure, one can go off and try to pick off a couple of enemies by themselves, but they certainly won’t last too long. Coordinating group attacks and using flanking maneuvers is an absolutely critical component of Rising Storm’s gameplay. Sneaking into an enemy base with two or three other players is often a very exhilarating experience, even more so when you surprise a group of opposing players who were eagerly expecting you to come from another direction. It also helps to have a microphone for communication purposes, as a lack communication amongst teammates can alter the course of the match pretty quickly, especially if the other team is heavily communicating your team’s whereabouts. There were plenty of times where non-communicating members of my team couldn’t respond quick enough to a situation and simply died. Again, some people will probably not favor this approach, but it provides Rising Storm a sense of realism that places it outside the realm of traditional FPS titles.
Another unique feature of Rising Storm is that unlike Red Orchestra 2 where it was Germans and Russians battling against one another, Rising Storm explores the American and Japanese side of World War II. Leaving the battlegrounds found in Europe, this title finds us in the tropical landscapes of the Pacific where plenty of foliage, barren beachfronts, and small villages await you–and your respective enemy–to battle amidst. And while Rising Storm is a title that provides an authentic, infantry-centered experience of the Pacific War theatre, the technical side of the game can be a little discouraging at times. Of course lag is an issue, as the case with many other titles that boast an impressive amount of players in a match at one time. There were times where the server would practically come to a stall as players seemingly walked in place on my screen and I became stuck and couldn’t move. Also, Rising Storm has a very, very steep learning curve, which for a game that values teamwork can mean a lot of trouble for teams with new players who don’t know how to play effectively, but provided a few more weeks this should even out as individuals become more accustomed to mechanics of the game.
But besides these issues, Rising Storm has been one fantastic experience for me so far, with Tripwire Interactive offering up a title that is practically in its own league at the moment. While Arma III–another realistic, FPS-centered title–may be a ways off until its release on PC later this year, Rising Storm easily fills the gap in terms of providing team-based gameplay fused with an authentic sense of realism. With a few more patches, Rising Storm can easily become one of the most challenging, intense, and fun FPS titles surrounding World War II released in quite some time–and it is already halfway there.